Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Ballad of the upstairs hall light…

About 4 days ago our upstairs light in the hallway (between 3 bedrooms and baimagethroom) stopped working.  Change the lightbulb right?  Well it was the kind with the quick change nubs that cost about $10 each!

Nope didn’t fix the problem.  So I thought, “screw this weird expensive bulb”, I’ll just re-wire it to accept a standard bulb.   Power off, 110V tester,….safe.  Find spare socket in garage, cut old fixture off, rewire, screw in bulb, turn on power, turn on light….nothing!  hmmm, maybe there isn’t power there.

Tromp around looking for multimeter, test and find out regardless of switch on or off, it reads less than 2VAC.  Weird.  Maybe it got loose in the attic.  Find a step stool, oops too short, go into garage and find ladder.  grab flashlight and look in attic.

Ahh, there are three 8” pieces that were all wire nutted together.  must be a bad connection.  I’ll just get a 2ft section and replace them all with a good wire (opposed to the old cloth wrapped stuff).  Back to the garage, wire cutters, wire strippers, flashlight, pliers,…. check!

Change the wire, re-hook everything, back downstairs to turn power back on, back upstairs to check and….nothing!  Dang, is it farther upstream?  Wait, maybe it’s the switch that went bad.upstairs light  Okay, power still on, unscrew plate.  The switch has several layers of paint gluing it to the wall.  Scrape and cut away paint so I can unscrew it.  Finally get it free to check with multimeter and find out it is the simple switch with no screws, just the holes in the back…but I realize that it is a 3-way switch at this point.  That is when I  had a “light bulb moment”  (get it?)

I walk down into the first basement and see the switch that we never use set at the 1/2 way point.  So I move it up and voila, it works.  Everything was fine, just the other switch was set 1/2 way and therefore was stuck “off”. 


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